Magna Carta – signed by King John of England – FULL Audio Book – History – Medieval England
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Magna Carta – signed by King John of England – FULL Audio Book – History – Medieval England

October 8, 2019


JOHN, by the grace of God King of England,
Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou,
to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices,
foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials
and loyal subjects, Greeting. KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our
soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God,
the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom,
at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury,
primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church,
Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop
of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop
of Lincoln, Walter Bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry,
Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member
of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the knighthood of
the Temple in England, William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William
earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan
de Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert,
Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew
Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert
de Roppeley, John Marshal, John Fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects: (1) FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and
by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity,
that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights
undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears
from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the
present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by
charter the freedom of the Church’s elections – a right reckoned to be
of the greatest necessity and importance to it – and caused this to be
confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves,
and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity. TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also
granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written
out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our
heirs: (2) If any earl, baron, or other person that
holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die,
and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a `relief’, the
heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale
of `relief’. That is to
say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay 100 for the entire earl’s
barony, the heir or heirs of a knight l00s. at most for the entire
knight’s `fee’, and any man that owes less shall pay less, in
accordance with the ancient usage of `fees’ (3) But if the heir of such a person is under
age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance
without `relief’ or fine. (4) The guardian of the land of an heir who
is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary
dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage
to men or property. If
we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any
person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction
or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be
entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee’, who shall
be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have
assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship
of such land, and he causes destruction or damage,
he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed
over to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee’, who shall be
similarly answerable to us. (5) For so long as a guardian has guardianship
of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves,
ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the
revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore
the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements
of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land
can reasonably bear. (6) Heirs may be given in marriage, but not
to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be’
made known to the heir’s next-of-kin. (7) At her husband’s death, a widow may have
her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her
dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband
held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband’s
house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower
shall be assigned to her. (8) No widow shall be compelled to marry,
so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not
marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or
without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of. (9) Neither we nor our officials will seize
any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has
movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor’s sureties shall not be distrained
upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for
lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his
sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have
the debtor’s lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for
the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he
has settled his obligations to them. (10) If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money
from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay
no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective
of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the
Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified
in the bond. (11) If a man dies owing money to Jews, his
wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that
are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale
appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be
paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are
to be dealt with similarly. (12) No `scutage’ or `aid’ may be levied in
our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom
of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry
our eldest daughter. For
these purposes only a reasonable `aid’ may be levied. `Aids’ from the
city of London are to be treated similarly. (13) The city of London shall enjoy all its
ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that
all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their
liberties and free customs. (14) To obtain the general consent of the
realm for the assessment of an `aid’ – except in the three cases specified
above – or a `scutage’, we will cause the archbishops,
bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually
by letter. To those who
hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be
issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on
a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and
at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the
summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business
appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance
with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were
summoned have appeared. (15) In future we will allow no one to levy
an `aid’ from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make
his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a
reasonable `aid’ may be levied. (16) No man shall be forced to perform more
service for a knight’s `fee’, or other free holding of land, than
is due from it. (17) Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the
royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place. (18) Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d’ancestor,
and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper
county court. We
ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two
justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with
four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold
the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the
court meets. (19) If any assizes cannot be taken on the
day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards
remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice
for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business
to be done. (20) For a trivial offence, a free man shall
be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and
for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to
deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared
his merchandise, and a husbandman the implements
of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be
imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the
neighbourhood. (21) Earls and barons shall be fined only
by their equals, and in proportion to the gravity of their offence. (22) A fine imposed upon the lay property
of a clerk in holy orders shall be assessed upon the same principles,
without reference to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice. (23) No town or person shall be forced to
build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to
do so. (24) No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other
royal officials are to hold lawsuits that should be held by the royal
justices. (25) Every county, hundred, wapentake, and
tithing shall remain at its ancient rent, without increase, except
the royal demesne manors. (26) If at the death of a man who holds a
lay `fee’ of the Crown, a sheriff or royal official produces royal letters
patent of summons for a debt due to the Crown, it shall be lawful
for them to seize and list movable goods found in the lay `fee’ of the
dead man to the value of the debt, as assessed by worthy men. Nothing shall be removed until
the whole debt is paid, when the residue shall be given over to the
executors to carry out the dead man’s will. If no debt is due to the
Crown, all the movable goods shall be regarded as the property of the
dead man, except the reasonable shares of his wife and children. (27) If a free man dies intestate, his movable
goods are to be distributed by his next-of-kin and friends,
under the supervision of the Church. The rights of his debtors are to be preserved. (28) No constable or other royal official
shall take corn or other movable goods from any man without immediate
payment, unless the seller voluntarily offers postponement of
this. (29) No constable may compel a knight to pay
money for castle-guard if the knight is willing to undertake the guard
in person, or with reasonable excuse to supply some other fit
man to do it. A knight
taken or sent on military service shall be excused from castle-guard
for the period of this service. (30) No sheriff, royal official, or other
person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without
his consent. (31) Neither we nor any royal official will
take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent
of the owner. (32) We will not keep the lands of people
convicted of felony in our hand for longer than a year and a day, after
which they shall be returned to the lords of the `fees’ concerned. (33) All fish-weirs shall be removed from
the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on
the sea coast. (34) The writ called precipe shall not in
future be issued to anyone in respect of any holding of land, if a free
man could thereby be deprived of the right of trial in his own
lord’s court. (35) There shall be standard measures of wine,
ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a
standard width of dyed cloth, russett, and haberject, namely two ells
within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly. (36) In future nothing shall be paid or accepted
for the issue of a writ of inquisition of life or limbs. It shall be given gratis, and
not refused. (37) If a man holds land of the Crown by `fee-farm’,
`socage’, or `burgage’, and also holds land of someone
else for knight’s service, we will not have guardianship of his heir,
nor of the land that belongs to the other person’s `fee’, by virtue
of the `fee-farm’, `socage’, or `burgage’, unless the `fee-farm’
owes knight’s service. We will not have the guardianship of a man’s
heir, or of land that he holds of someone else, by reason of any small
property that he may hold of the Crown for a service of knives,
arrows, or the like. (38) In future no official shall place a man
on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible
witnesses to the truth of it. (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned,
or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled,
or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed
with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful
judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny
or delay right or justice. (41) All merchants may enter or leave England
unharmed and without fear, and may stay or travel within it, by
land or water, for purposes of trade, free from all illegal exactions,
in accordance with ancient and lawful customs. This, however, does not apply in time of war
to merchants from a country that is at war with
us. Any such merchants
found in our country at the outbreak of war shall be detained without
injury to their persons or property, until we or our chief justice
have discovered how our own merchants are being treated in the country
at war with us. If our own merchants are safe they shall be
safe too. (42) In future it shall be lawful for any
man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by
land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of war,
for some short period, for the common benefit of the realm. People that have been imprisoned
or outlawed in accordance with the law of the land, people from a
country that is at war with us, and merchants – who shall be dealt
with as stated above – are excepted from this provision. (43) If a man holds lands of any `escheat’
such as the `honour’ of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster,
or of other `escheats’ in our hand that are baronies, at his death
his heir shall give us only the `relief’ and service that he would
have made to the baron, had the barony been in the baron’s hand. We will hold the `escheat’ in
the same manner as the baron held it. (44) People who live outside the forest need
not in future appear before the royal justices of the forest in
answer to general summonses, unless they are actually involved
in proceedings or are sureties for someone who has been seized for
a forest offence. (45) We will appoint as justices, constables,
sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the
realm and are minded to keep it well. (46) All barons who have founded abbeys, and
have charters of English kings or ancient tenure as evidence of this,
may have guardianship of them when there is no abbot, as is their due. (47) All forests that have been created in
our reign shall at once be disafforested. River-banks that have been enclosed in our
reign shall be treated similarly. (48) All evil customs relating to forests
and warrens, foresters, warreners, sheriffs and their servants, or
river-banks and their wardens, are at once to be investigated in
every county by twelve sworn knights of the county, and within forty
days of their enquiry the evil customs are to be abolished completely
and irrevocably. But
we, or our chief justice if we are not in England, are first to be
informed. (49) We will at once return all hostages and
charters delivered up to us by Englishmen as security for peace
or for loyal service. ***here were some strange characters, not
completely removed (50) We will remove completely from their
offices the kinsmen of Gerard de Ath, Peter, Guy, and Andrew de Chanceaux,
Guy de Cigogne, and in future they shall hold no offices in England. The
people in question are Engelard de Cigogn, Geoffrey de Martigny and his
brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers, with Geoffrey his nephew,
and all their followers. * As soon as peace is restored, we will remove
from the kingdom all the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants,
and the mercenaries that have come to it, to its harm, with horses
and arms. * To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed
of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the
lawful judgement of his equals, we will at once restore these. In cases of dispute the
matter shall be resolved by the judgement of the twenty-five
barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace. In
cases, however, where a man was deprived or dispossessed of
something without the lawful judgement of his equals by our father
King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our
hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have
respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a
lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order,
before we took the Cross as a Crusader. On our return from the
Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once render justice in
full. * We shall have similar respite in rendering
justice in connexion with forests that are to be disafforested,
or to remain forests, when these were first aforested by our father
Henry or our brother Richard; with the guardianship of lands in
another persons fee, when we have hitherto had this by virtue of
a fee held of us for knights service by a third party; and with
abbeys founded in another persons fee, in which the lord of
the fee claims to own a right. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon
it, we will at once do full justice to complaints
about these matters. * No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on
the appeal of a woman for the death of any person except her husband. * All fines that have been given to us unjustly
and against the law of the land, and all fines that we have exacted
unjustly, shall be entirely remitted or the matter decided by
a majority judgement of the twenty-five barons referred to below in
the clause for securing the peace together with Stephen,
archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and such
others as he wishes to bring with him. If the archbishop cannot be present, proceedings
shall continue without him, provided that if any of the
twenty-five barons has been involved in a similar suit himself,
his judgement shall be set aside, and someone else chosen and
sworn in his place, as a substitute for the single occasion, by
the rest of the twenty-five. * If we have deprived or dispossessed any
Welshmen of lands, liberties, or anything else in England or
in Wales, without the lawful judgement of their equals, these are
at once to be returned to them. A dispute on this point shall be determined
in the Marches by the judgement of equals. English law shall apply to
holdings of land in England, Welsh law to those in Wales, and the
law of the Marches to those in the Marches. The Welsh shall treat
us and ours in the same way. * In cases where a Welshman was deprived or
dispossessed of anything, without the lawful judgement of
his equals, by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard,
and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty,
we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to
Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had
been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. But on our return from the
Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice
according to the laws of Wales and the said regions. * We will at once return the son of Llywelyn,
all Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as security
for the peace. * With regard to the return of the sisters
and hostages of Alexander, king of Scotland, his liberties
and his rights, we will treat him in the same way as our other barons
of England, unless it appears from the charters that we hold
from his father William, formerly king of Scotland, that he should
be treated otherwise. This matter shall be resolved by the judgement
of his equals in our court. * All these customs and liberties that we
have granted shall be observed in our kingdom in so far as concerns
our own relations with our subjects. Let all men of our kingdom, whether clergy
or laymen, observe them similarly in their relations
with their own men. ***Strange characters may have ended here. SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for
God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the
discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire
that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength,
for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:
* The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and
cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties
granted and confirmed to them by this charter. * If we, our chief justice, our officials,
or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or
transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security,
and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons,
they shall come to us – or in our absence from the kingdom to
the chief justice – to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence
abroad the chief justice, make no redress within forty days,
reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or
to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the
twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every
way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land,
by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else
saving only our own person and those of the queen and our
children, until they have secured such redress as they have
determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then
resume their normal obedience to us. * Any man who so desires may take an oath
to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement
of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost
of his power. We give
public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so
desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects
who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command. * If-one of the twenty-five barons dies or
leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging
his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his
place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as
they were. * In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five
barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the
verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a
unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all
present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear. * The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey
all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed
by others to the best of their power. * We will not seek to procure from anyone,
either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which
any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked
or diminished. Should
such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at
no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party. We have remitted and pardoned fully to all
men any ill-will, hurt, or grudges that have arisen between us and our
subjects, whether clergy or laymen, since the beginning of the dispute. We have in addition remitted fully, and for
our own part have also pardoned, to all clergy and laymen any offences
committed as a result of the said dispute between Easter 1215 AD
and the restoration of peace. In addition we have caused letters patent
to be made for the barons, bearing witness to this security and to the
concessions set out above, over the seals of Stephen archbishop of Canterbury,
Henry archbishop of Dublin, the other bishops named above,
and Master Pandulf. IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that
the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall
have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and
peaceably in their fulness and entirety for them and their heirs,
of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever. Both we and the barons have sworn that all
this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the above mentioned people and
many others. Given by our hand in the meadow that is called
Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day
of June in the seventeenth year of our reign . *** [There were many missing spaces in this one,
not sure I got them all] Magna Carta 1215 John, by the grace of God, king of England,
lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou,
to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciars,
foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his bailiffs
and liege subjects, greeting. Know that, having regard to God and for the
salvation of our soul, and those of all our ancestors and heirs,
and unto the honor of God and the advancement of holy church, and
for the reform of our realm, by advice of our venerable fathers,
Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and cardinal
of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William
of London, Peter of Winchester, Jocelyn of Bath and Glastonbury,
Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William of Coventry, Benedict of
Rochester, bishops; of master Pandulf, subdeacon and member of the
household of our lord the Pope, of brother Aymeric (master of the Knights
of the Temple in England), and of the illustrious men William
Marshall earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of
Warenne, William earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway (constable of
Scotland), Waren Fitz Gerald, Peter Fits Herbert, Hubert de Burgh
(seneschal of Poitou), Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset,
Alan Basset, Philip d’Aubigny, Robert of Roppesley, John Marshall,
John Fitz Hugh, and others, our liegemen. 1. In the first place we have granted to God,
and by this our present charter confirmed for us and our heirs for
ever that the English church shall be free, and shall have her rights entire,
and her liberties inviolate; and we will that it be thus observed;
which is apparent from this that the freedom of elections, which
is reckoned most important and very essential to the English church,
we, of our pure and unconstrained will, did grant, and did by
our charter confirm and did obtain the ratification of the same from our
lord, Pope Innocent III., before the quarrel arose between us
and our barons: and this we will observe, and our will is that it be observed
in good faith by our heirs for ever. We have also granted to all freemen of our
kingdom, for us and our heirs for ever, all the underwritten
liberties, to be had and held by them and their heirs, of us and
our heirs for ever. 2. If any of our earls or barons, or others holding
of us in chief by military service shall have died, and at the
time of his death his heir shall be of full age and owe “relief” he shall
have his inheritance on payment of the ancient relief, namely the
heir or heirs of an earl, 100 pounds for a whole earl’s barony; the heir
or heirs of a baron, 100 pounds for a whole barony; the heir or heirs
of a knight, 100 shillings at most for a whole knight’s fee; and whoever
owes less let him give less, according to the ancient custom officers. 3. If, however, the heir of any of the aforesaid
has been under age and in wardship, let him have his inheritance
without relief and without fine when he comes of age. 4. The guardian of the land of an heir who is
thus under age, shall take from the land of the heir nothing but
reasonably produce, reasonable customs, and reasonable services,
and that without destruction or waste of men or goods; and
if we have committed the wardship of the lands of any such minor to
the sheriff, or to any other who is responsible to us for its issues, and
he has made destruction or waste of what he holds in wardship, we will
take of him amends, and the land shall be committed to two lawful and
discreet men of that fee, who shall be responsible for the issues to us
or to him to whom we shall assign them; and if we have given or
sold the wardship of any such land to anyone and he has there in made
destruction or waste, he shall lose that wardship, and it shall be
transferred to two lawful and discreet men of that fief, who shall be responsible
to us in like manner as aforesaid. 5. The guardian, moreover, so long as he has
the wardship of the land, shall keep up the houses, parks, fishponds,
stanks, mills, and other things pertaining to the land, out of the
issues of the same land; and he shall restore to the heir, when he has
come to full age, all his land, stocked with ploughs and “waynage,”
according as the season of husbandry shall require, and the issues of
the land can reasonably bear. 6. Heirs shall be married without disparagement,
yet so that before the marriage takes place the nearest in blood
to that heir shall have notice. 7. A widow, after the death of her husband, shall
forthwith and without difficulty have her marriage portion
and inheritance; nor shall she give anything for her dower, or for her
marriage portion, or for the inheritance which her husband and she
held on the day of the death of that husband; and she may remain in the
house of her husband for fourty days after his death, within which
time her dower shall be assigned to her. 8. No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long
as she prefers to live without a husband; provided always that
she gives security not to marry without our consent, if she holds of
us, or without the consent of the lord of whom she holds, if she holds
of another. 9. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall seize any
land or rent for any debt, so long as the chattels of the debtor
are sufficient to repay the debt; nor shall the sureties of the debtor
be distrained so long as the principal debtor is able to satisfy the debt;
and if the principal debtor shall fail to pay the debt, having
nothing wherewith to pay it, then the sureties shall answer for the debt;
and let them have the lands and rents of the debtor, if they desire
them, until they are indemnified for the debt which they have paid
for him, unless the principal debtor can show proof that he is
discharged thereof as against the said sureties. 10. If one who has borrowed from the Jews any
sum, great or small, die before that loan can be repaid, the debt shall
not bear interest while the heir is under age, of whomsoever he may
hold; and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take anything
except the principal sum contained in the bond. 11. And if any one die indebted to the Jews, his
wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if
any children of the deceased are left underage, necessaries shall be provided
for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased; and out
of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service due to
feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts due to
others than Jews. 12. No scutage nor aid shall be imposed on our
kingdom, unless by common counsel of our kingdom, except for
ransoming our person, for making our eldest son a knight, and for once
marrying our eldest daughter; and for these there shall not be
levied more than a reasonable aid. In like manner it shall be done concerning
aids from the city of London. 13. And the city of London shall have all its
ancient liberties and free customs, as well by land as by water;
furthermore, we decree and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns,
and ports shall have all their liberties and free customs. 14. And for obtaining the common counsel of the
kingdom anent the assessing of an aid (except in the three cases
aforesaid) or of a scutage, we will cause to be summoned the
archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons, severally by our
letters; and we will moreover cause to be summoned generally, through
our sheriffs and bailiffs, all others who hold of us in chief,
for a fixed date, namely, after the expiry of at least forty days, and
at a fixed place; and in all letters of such summons we will specify
the reason of the summons. And when the summons has thus been made, the
business shall proceed on the day appointed, according to the counsel
of such as are present, although not all who were summoned have come. 15. We will not for the future grant to any one
license to take an aid from his own free tenants, except to ransom
his body, to make his eldest son a knight, and once to marry his
eldest daughter; and on each of these occasions there shall be levied
only a reasonable aid. 16. No one shall be distrained for performance
of greater service for a knight’s fee, or for any other free tenement,
than is due therefrom. 17. Common pleas shall not follow our court, but
shall be held in some fixed place. 18. Inquests of novel disseisin, of mort d’ancester,
and of darrein presentment, shall not be held elsewhere than
in their own county courts and that in manner following,–We,
or, if we should be out of the realm, our chief justiciar, will send
two justiciars through every county four times a year, who shall,
along with four knights of the county chosen by the county, hold the
said assize in the county court, on the day and in the place of meeting
of that court. 19. And if any of the said assizes cannot be taken
on the day of the county court, let there remain of the knights
and freeholders, who were present at the county court on that day, as
many as may be required for the efficient making of judgments, according
as the business be more or less. 20. A freeman shall not be amerced for a slight
offense, except in accordance with the degree of the offense;
and for a grave offense he shall be amerced in accordance with the gravity
of the offense, yet saving always his “contentment;” and a merchant
in the same way, saving his “merchandise;” and a villein shall be
amerced in the same way, saving his “wainage”–if they have fallen
into our mercy: and none of the aforesaid amercements shall be impsed
except by the oath of honest men of the neighborhood. 21. Earls and barons shall not be amerced except
through their peers, and only in accordance with the degree of
the offense. 22. A clerk shall not be amerced in respect of
his lay holding except after the manner of the others aforesaid;
further, he shall not be amerced in accordance with the extent of his
ecclesiastical benefice. 23. No village or individual shall be compelled
to make bridges at river-banks, except those who from of old
were legally bound to do so. 24. No sheriff, constable, coroners, or others
of our bailiffs, shall hold pleas of our Crown. 25. All counties, hundreds, wapentakes, and trithings
(except our demesne manors) shall remain at old rents,
and without any additional payment.***here may be an error 26. If any one holding of us a lay fief shall
die, and our sheriff or bailiff shall exhibit our letters patent of
summons for a debt which the deceased owed to us, it shall be lawful
for our sheriff or bailiff to attach and catalogue chattels of the deceased,
found upon the lay fief, to the value of that debt, at the sight
of law-worthy men, provided always that nothing whatever be then
be removed until the debt which is evident shall be fully paid to us;
and the residue shall be left to the executors to fulfil the will of
the deceased; and if there be nothing due from him to us, all the chattels
shall go to the deceased, saving to his wife and children
their reasonable shares. 27. If any freeman shall die intestate, his chattels
shall be distributed by the hands of his nearest kinsfolk
and friends, under supervision of the church, saving to every
one the debts which the deceased owed to him. 28. No constable or other bailiff of ours shall
take corn or other provisions from any one without immediately
tendering money therefor, unless he can have postponement thereof by
permission of the seller. 29. No constable shall compel any knight to give
money in lieu of castle-guard, when he is willing to perform
it in his own person, or (if he cannot do it from any reasonable cause)
then by another responsible man. Further, if we have led or sent him upon military
service, he shall be relieved from guard in proportion to the time
during which he has been on service because of us. 30. No sheriff or bailiff of ours, or other person,
shall take the horses or carts of any freeman for transport
duty, against the will of the said freeman. 31. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall take, for
our castles or for any other work of ours, wood which is not ours,
against the will of the owner of that wood. 32. We will not retain beyond one year and one
day, the lands of those who have been convicted of felony, and the
lands shall thereafter be handed over to the lords of the fiefs. 33. All kiddles for the future shall be removed
altogether from Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, except
upon the seashore. 34. The writ which is called praecipe shall not
for the future be issued to any one, regarding any tenement
whereby a freeman may lose his court. 35. Let there be one measure of wine throughout
our whole realm; and one measure of ale; and one measure of corn,
to wit, “the London quarter;” and one width of cloth (whether
dyed, or russet, or “halberget”), to wit, two ells within the
selvages; of weights also let it be as of measures. 36. Nothing in future shall be given or taken
for a writ of inquisition of life or limbs, but freely it shall be granted,
and never denied. 37. If any one holds of us by fee-farm, by socage,
or by burgage, and holds also land of another lord by knight’s
service, we will not (by reason of that fee-farm, socage, or
burgage) have the wardship of the heir, or of such land of his as is
of the fief of that other; nor shall we have wardship of that fee-farm,
socage, or burgage, unless such fee-farm owes knight’s service. We will not by reason of
any small serjeanty which any one may hold of us by the service of
rendering to us knives, arrows, or the like, have wardship of his heir
of the land which he holds of another lord by knight’s service. 38. No bailiff for the future shall, upon his
own unsupported complaint, put any one to his “law,” without
credible witnesses brought for this purpose. 39. No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or
disseised or exiled or in anyway destroyed, nor will we go upon him
nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by
the law of the land. 40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we
refuse or delay, right or justice. 41. All merchants shall have safe and secure exit
from England, and entry to England, with the right to tarry
there and to move about as well by land as by water, for buying and selling
by the ancient and right customs, quit from all evil tolls, except
(in time of war) such merchants as are of the land at war with us. And if such are found in
our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be detained, without
injury to their bodies or goods, until information be received by us,
or by our chief justiciar, how the merchants of our land found in the
land at war with us are treated; and if our men are safe there, the
others shall be safe in our land. 42. It shall be lawful in future for any one (excepting
always those imprisoned or outlawed in accordance
with the law of the kingdom, and natives of any country at war with us,
and merchants, who shall be treated as is above provided) to leave our
kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water, except for a
short period in time of war, on grounds of public policy–reserving always
the allegiance due to us. 43. If any one holding of some escheat (such as
the honor of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster,
or of other escheats which are in our hands and are baronies) shall
die, his heir shall give no other relief, and perform no other service
to us than he would have done to the baron, if that barony had been
in the baron’s hand; and we shall hold it in the same manner in which
the baron held it. 44. Men who dwell without the forest need not
henceforth come before our justiciars of the forest upon a general
summons, except those who are impleaded, or who have become sureties
for any person or persons attached for forest offenses. 45. We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs,
or bailiffs only such as know the law of the realm and
mean to observe it well. 46. All barons who have founded abbeys, concerning
which they hold charters from the kings of England, or of
which they have long-continued possession, shall have the
wardship of them, when vacant, as they ought to have. 47. All forests that have been made such in our
time shall forthwith be disafforested; and a similar course shall
be followed with regard to river-banks that have been placed “in defense”
by us in our time. 48. All evil customs connected with forests and
warrens, foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their officers,
river-banks and their wardens, shall immediately be inquired into
in each county by twelve sworn knights of the same county chosen by
the honest men of the same county, and shall, within forty days of the
said inquest, be utterly abolished, so as never to be restored, provided
always that we previously have intimation thereof, or our
justiciar, if we should not be in England. 49. We will immediately restore all hostages and
charters delivered to us by Englishmen, as sureties of the peace
or of faithful service. 50. We will entirely remove from their bailiwicks,
the relations of Gerard Athee (so that in future they shall
have no bailiwick in England); namely, Engelard of Cigogne, Peter,
Guy, and Andrew of Chanceaux, Guy of Cigogne, Geofrrey of Martigny
with his brothers, Philip Mark with his brothers and his nephew
Geoffrey, and the whole brood of the same. 51. As soon as peace is restored, we will banish
from the kingdom all foreign-born knights, cross-bowmen, serjeants,
and mercenary soldiers, who have come with horses and arms
to the kingdom’s hurt. 52. If any one has been dispossessed or removed
by us, without the legal judgment of his peers, from his lands,
castles, franchises, or from his right, we will immediately restore
them to him; and if a dispute arise over this, then let it be decided
by the five-and-twenty barons of whom mention is made below in the
clause for securing the peace. Moreover, for all those possessions, from
which any one has, without the lawful judgment of his peers,
be endisseised or removed, by our father, King Henry, or by our brother,
King Richard, and which we retain in our hand (or which are possessed
by others, to whom we are bound to warrant them) we shall have respite
until the usual term of crusaders; excepting those things about which
a plea has been raised, or an inquest made by our order, before our
taking of the cross; but as soon as were turn from our expedition (or
if perchance we desist from the expedition) we will immediately grant
full justice therein. 53. We shall have, moreover, the same respite
and in the same manner in rendering justice concerning the disafforestation
or retention of those forests which Henry our father and Richard
our brother afforested, and concerning wardship of lands
which are of the fief of another (namely, such wardships as we have
hitherto had by reason of a fief which any one held of us by knight’s
service), and concerning abbeys founded on other fiefs than our own,
in which the lord of the fief claims to have right; and when we have
returned, or if we desist from our expedition, we will immediately grant
full justice to all who complain of such things. 54. No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon
the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other than her husband. 55. All fines made with us unjustly and against
the law of the land, and all amercements imposed unjustly and against
the law of the land, shall be entirely remitted, or else it shall
be done concerning them according to the decision of the five-and-twenty
barons of whom mention is made below in the clause for securing the
peace, or according to the judgment of the majority of the same, along
with the aforesaid Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present,
and such others as he may wish to bring with him for this purpose,
and if he cannot be present the business shall nevertheless proceed
without him, provided always that if any one or more of the aforesaid
five-and-twenty barons are in a similar suit, they shall be
removed as far as concerns this particular judgment, others being substituted
in their places after having been selected by the rest of
the same five-and-twenty for this purpose only, and after having been sworn. 56. If we have disseised or removed Welshmen from
lands or liberties, or other things, without the legal judgment
of their peers in England or in Wales, they shall be immediately restored
to them; and if a dispute arise over this, then let it be decided
in the marches by the judgment of their peers; for tenements in
England according to the law of England, for tenements in Wales according
to the law of Wales, and for tenements in the marches according to
the law of the marches. Welshmen shall do the same to us and ours. 57. Further, for all those possessions from which
any Welshman has, without the lawful judgment of his peers,
been disseised or removed by King Henry our father or King Richard our
brother, and which we retain in our hand (or which are possessed by others,
to whom we are bound to warrant them) we shall have respite until
the usual term of crusaders; excepting those things about which a plea
has been raised or an inquest made by our order before we took the cross;
but as soon as we return (or if perchance we desist from our expedition),
we will immediately grant full justice in accordance with the
laws of the Welsh and in relation to the foresaid regions. 58. We will immediately give up the son of Llywelyn
and all the hostages of Wales, and the charters delivered
to us as security for the peace. 59. We will do toward Alexander, King of Scots,
concerning the return of his sisters and his hostages, and concerning
his franchises, and his right, in the same manner as we shall do toward
our other barons of England, unless it ought to be otherwise according
to the charters which we hold from William his father, formerly
King of Scots; and this shall be according to the judgment of his
peers in our court. 60. Moreover, all these aforesaid customs and
liberties, the observance of which we have granted in our
kingdom as far as pertains to us toward our men, shall be observed by
all of our kingdom, as well clergy as laymen, as far as pertains to them
toward their men. 61. Since, moreover, for God and the amendment
of our kingdom and for the better allaying of the quarrel that has
arisen between us and our barons, we have granted all these concessions,
desirous that they should enjoy them in complete and firm endurance
for ever, we give and grant to them the underwritten security, namely,
that the barons choose five-and-twenty barons of the kingdom, whomsoever
they will, who shall be bound with all their might, to observe
and hold, and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties we have
granted and confirmed to them by this our present Charter, so that if we,
or our justiciar, or our bailiffs or any one of our officers, shall
in anything be at fault toward any one, or shall have broken any one
of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offense
be notified to four barons of the foresaid five-and-twenty, the
said four barons shall repair to us (or our justiciar, if we are
out of the realm) and, laying the transgression before us, petition to have
that transgression redressed without delay. And if we shall not have corrected the
transgression (or, in the event of our being out of the realm, if our
justiciar shall not have corrected it) within forty days, reckoning
from the time it has been intimated to us (or to our justiciar, if
we should be out of the realm), the four barons aforesaid shall refer
that matter to the rest of the five-and-twenty barons, and those
five-and-twenty barons shall, together with the community of the whole
land, distrain and distress us in all possible ways, namely, by seizing
our castles, lands, possessions, and in any other way they can, until
redress has been obtained as they deem fit, saving harmless our own
person, and the persons of our queen and children; and when redress has
been obtained, they shall resume their old relations toward us. And let
whoever in the country desires it, swear to obey the orders of the said
five-and-twenty barons for the execution of all the aforesaid matters,
and along with them, to molest us to the utmost of his power; and we
publicly and freely grant leave to every one who wishes to swear, and
we shall never forbid any one to swear. All those, moreover, in the
land who of themselves and of their own accord are unwilling to swear
to the twenty-five to help them in constraining and molesting us, we
shall by our command compel the same to swear to the effect aforesaid. And if any one of the five-and-twenty barons
shall have died or departed from the land, or be incapacitated
in any other manner which would prevent the foresaid provisions being
carried out, those of the said twenty-five barons who are left shall
choose another in his place according to their own judgment, and
he shall be sworn in the same way as the others. Further, in all matters, the execution of
which is intrusted to these twenty-five barons,
if perchance these twenty-five are present, that which the majority
of those present ordain or command shall be held as fixed and
established, exactly as if the whole twenty-five had concurred in this;
and the said twenty-five shall swear that they will faithfully observe
all that is aforesaid, and cause it to be observed with all their
might. And we shall procure
nothing from any one, directly or indirectly, whereby any part of
these concessions and liberties might be revoked or diminished; and if
any such thing has been procured, let it be void and null, and we shall
never use it personally or by another. 62. And all the ill-will, hatreds, and bitterness
that have arisen between us and our men, clergy and lay, from
the date of the quarrel, we have completely remitted and pardoned every
one. Moreover, all
trespasses occasioned by the said quarrel, from Easter in the sixteenth
year of our reign till the restoration of peace, we have fully remitted
to all, both clergy and laymen, and completely forgiven, as far as
pertains to us. And, on this head, we have caused to be made
for them letters testimonial patent of the lord Stephen,
archbishop of Canterbury, of the lord Henry, archbishop
of Dublin, of the bishops aforesaid, and of Master Pandulf as touching
this security and the concessions aforesaid. 63. Wherefore it is our will, and we firmly enjoin,
that the English Church be free, and that the men in our kingdom
have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions,
well and peaceably, freely and quietly, fully and wholly, for
themselves and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all respects and in
all places for ever, as is aforesaid. An oath, moreover, has been taken, as well
on our part as on the part of the barons, that all these conditions
aforesaid shall be kept in good faith and without evil intent. Given under our hand–the
above-named and many others being witnesses–in the meadow which is
called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of
June, in the seventeenth year of our reign. *** The text of THE MAGNA CARTA The Magna Carta (The Great Charter): Preamble: John, by the grace of God, king of England,
lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou,
to the archbishop, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciaries,
foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his bailiffs
and liege subjects, greetings. Know that, having regard to God and for the
salvation of our soul, and those of all our ancestors and
heirs, and unto the honor of God and the advancement of his holy Church
and for the rectifying of our realm, we have granted as underwritten
by advice of our venerable fathers, Stephen, archbishop of
Canterbury, primate of all England and cardinal of the holy Roman Church,
Henry, archbishop of Dublin, William of London, Peter of Winchester,
Jocelyn of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester,
William of Coventry, Benedict of Rochester, bishops;
of Master Pandulf, subdeacon and member of the household of our lord the
Pope, of brother Aymeric (master of the Knights of the Temple in England),
and of the illustrious men William Marshal, earl of Pembroke,
William, earl of Salisbury, William, earl of Warenne, William,
earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway (constable of Scotland), Waren Fitz
Gerold, Peter Fitz Herbert, Hubert De Burgh (seneschal of Poitou),
Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan
Basset, Philip d’Aubigny, Robert of Roppesley, John Marshal, John Fitz
Hugh, and others, our liegemen. 1. In the first place we have granted to God,
and by this our present charter confirmed for us and our heirs forever
that the English Church shall be free, and shall have her rights entire,
and her liberties inviolate; and we will that it be thus observed;
which is apparent from this that the freedom of elections, which
is reckoned most important and very essential to the English
Church, we, of our pure and unconstrained will, did grant, and did
by our charter confirm and did obtain the ratification of the same from
our lord, Pope Innocent III, before the quarrel arose between us and
our barons: and this we will observe, and our will is that it be observed
in good faith by our heirs forever. We have also granted to all freemen of our
kingdom, for us and our heirs forever, all the underwritten
liberties, to be had and held by them and their heirs, of us
and our heirs forever. 2. If any of our earls or barons, or others holding
of us in chief by military service shall have died, and at the
time of his death his heir shall be full of age and owe “relief”,
he shall have his inheritance by the old relief, to wit, the
heir or heirs of an earl, for the whole baroncy of an earl by L100;
the heir or heirs of a baron, L100 for a whole barony; the heir or
heirs of a knight, 100s, at most, and whoever owes less let him give
less, according to the ancient custom of fees. 3. If, however, the heir of any one of the aforesaid
has been under age and in wardship, let him have his inheritance
without relief and without fine when he comes of age. 4. The guardian of the land of an heir who is
thus under age, shall take from the land of the heir nothing but
reasonable produce, reasonable customs, and reasonable services,
and that without destruction or waste of men or goods; and
if we have committed the wardship of the lands of any such minor to
the sheriff, or to any other who is responsible to us for its issues,
and he has made destruction or waster of what he holds in
wardship, we will take of him amends, and the land shall be committed
to two lawful and discreet men of that fee, who shall be responsible
for the issues to us or to him to whom we shall assign them; and if we
have given or sold the wardship of any such land to anyone and he
has therein made destruction or waste, he shall lose that wardship,
and it shall be transferred to two lawful and discreet men
of that fief, who shall be responsible to us in like manner as aforesaid. 5. The guardian, moreover, so long as he has
the wardship of the land, shall keep up the houses, parks, fishponds,
stanks, mills, and other things pertaining to the land, out of the
issues of the same land; and he shall restore to the heir, when he has
come to full age, all his land, stocked with ploughs and wainage, according
as the season of husbandry shall require, and the issues of
the land can reasonable bear. 6. Heirs shall be married without disparagement,
yet so that before the marriage takes place the nearest in blood
to that heir shall have notice. 7. A widow, after the death of her husband, shall
forthwith and without difficulty have her marriage portion
and inheritance; nor shall she give anything for her dower, or
for her marriage portion, or for the inheritance which her husband and
she held on the day of the death of that husband; and she may remain
in the house of her husband for forty days after his death, within which
time her dower shall be assigned to her. 8. No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long
as she prefers to live without a husband; provided always that
she gives security not to marry without our consent, if she holds of
us, or without the consent of the lord of whom she holds, if she holds
of another. 9. Neither we nor our bailiffs will seize any
land or rent for any debt, as long as the chattels of the debtor
are sufficient to repay the debt; nor shall the sureties of the debtor
be distrained so long as the principal debtor is able to satisfy
the debt; and if the principal debtor shall fail to pay the debt,
having nothing wherewith to pay it, then the sureties shall answer
for the debt; and let them have the lands and rents of the debtor, if
they desire them, until they are indemnified for the debt which they
have paid for him, unless the principal debtor can show proof that he
is discharged thereof as against the said sureties. 10. If one who has borrowed from the Jews any
sum, great or small, die before that loan be repaid, the debt shall
not bear interest while the heir is under age, of whomsoever he may hold;
and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take anything
except the principal sum contained in the bond. 11. And if anyone die indebted to the Jews, his
wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if
any children of the deceased are left under age, necessaries shall
be provided for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased;
and out of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service
due to feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts
due to others than Jews. 12. No scutage not aid shall be imposed on our
kingdom, unless by common counsel of our kingdom, except for
ransoming our person, for making our eldest son a knight, and for once
marrying our eldest daughter; and for these there shall not be
levied more than a reasonable aid. In like manner it shall be done concerning
aids from the city of London. 13. And the city of London shall have all it ancient
liberties and free customs, as well by land as by water;
furthermore, we decree and grant that all other cities, boroughs,
towns, and ports shall have all their liberties and free customs. 14. And for obtaining the common counsel of the
kingdom anent the assessing of an aid (except in the three cases
aforesaid) or of a scutage, we will cause to be summoned the
archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons, severally
by our letters; and we will moveover cause to be summoned generally,
through our sheriffs and bailiffs, and others who hold of us in chief,
for a fixed date, namely, after the expiry of at least forty
days, and at a fixed place; and in all letters of such summons we will
specify the reason of the summons. And when the summons has thus been made, the
business shall proceed on the day appointed, according to
the counsel of such as are present, although not all who were summoned
have come. 15. We will not for the future grant to anyone
license to take an aid from his own free tenants, except to ransom
his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and once to marry his
eldest daughter; and on each of these occasions there shall be levied
only a reasonable aid. 16. No one shall be distrained for performance
of greater service for a knight’s fee, or for any other free tenement,
than is due therefrom. 17. Common pleas shall not follow our court, but
shall be held in some fixed place. 18. Inquests of novel disseisin, of mort d’ancestor,
and of darrein presentment shall not be held elsewhere than
in their own county courts, and that in manner following; We,
or, if we should be out of the realm, our chief justiciar, will send
two justiciaries through every county four times a year, who shall
alone with four knights of the county chosen by the county, hold the
said assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place of meeting
of that court. 19. And if any of the said assizes cannot be taken
on the day of the county court, let there remain of the knights
and freeholders, who were present at the county court on that day,
as many as may be required for the efficient making of judgments,
according as the business be more or less. 20. A freeman shall not be amerced for a slight
offense, except in accordance with the degree of the offense;
and for a grave offense he shall be amerced in accordance with the gravity
of the offense, yet saving always his “contentment”; and a merchant
in the same way, saving his “merchandise”; and a villein shall
be amerced in the same way, saving his “wainage” if they have fallen
into our mercy: and none of the aforesaid amercements shall be imposed
except by the oath of honest men of the neighborhood. 21. Earls and barons shall not be amerced except
through their peers, and only in accordance with the degree of
the offense. 22. A clerk shall not be amerced in respect of
his lay holding except after the manner of the others aforesaid;
further, he shall not be amerced in accordance with the extent of his
ecclesiastical benefice. 23. No village or individual shall be compelled
to make bridges at river banks, except those who from of old
were legally bound to do so. 24. No sheriff, constable, coroners, or others
of our bailiffs, shall hold pleas of our Crown. 25. All counties, hundred, wapentakes, and trithings
(except our demesne manors) shall remain at the old rents,
and without any additional payment. 26. If anyone holding of us a lay fief shall die,
and our sheriff or bailiff shall exhibit our letters patent of
summons for a debt which the deceased owed us, it shall be lawful for
our sheriff or bailiff to attach and enroll the chattels of the deceased,
found upon the lay fief, to the value of that debt, at the sight
of law worthy men, provided always that nothing whatever be thence
removed until the debt which is evident shall be fully paid to us;
and the residue shall be left to the executors to fulfill the will
of the deceased; and if there be nothing due from him to us, all the
chattels shall go to the deceased, saving to his wife and children
their reasonable shares. 27. If any freeman shall die intestate, his chattels
shall be distributed by the hands of his nearest kinsfolk
and friends, under supervision of the Church, saving to every
one the debts which the deceased owed to him. 28. No constable or other bailiff of ours shall
take corn or other provisions from anyone without immediately
tendering money therefor, unless he can have postponement thereof by
permission of the seller. 29. No constable shall compel any knight to give
money in lieu of castle-guard, when he is willing to perform
it in his own person, or (if he himself cannot do it from any reasonable
cause) then by another responsible man. Further, if we have led or sent him upon military
service, he shall be relieved from guard in proportion to the time
during which he has been on service because of us. 30. No sheriff or bailiff of ours, or other person,
shall take the horses or carts of any freeman for transport
duty, against the will of the said freeman. 31. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall take, for
our castles or for any other work of ours, wood which is not ours,
against the will of the owner of that wood. 32. We will not retain beyond one year and one
day, the lands those who have been convicted of felony, and the
lands shall thereafter be handed over to the lords of the fiefs. 33. All kydells for the future shall be removed
altogether from Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, except
upon the seashore. 34. The writ which is called praecipe shall not
for the future be issued to anyone, regarding any tenement whereby
a freeman may lose his court. 35. Let there be one measure of wine throughout
our whole realm; and one measure of ale; and one measure of corn,
to wit, “the London quarter”; and one width of cloth (whether
dyed, or russet, or “halberget”), to wit, two ells within the
selvedges; of weights also let it be as of measures. 36. Nothing in future shall be given or taken
for a writ of inquisition of life or limbs, but freely it
shall be granted, and never denied. 37. If anyone holds of us by fee-farm, either
by socage or by burage, or of any other land by knight’s service,
we will not (by reason of that fee-farm, socage, or burgage), have the
wardship of the heir, or of such land of his as if of the fief of that
other; nor shall we have wardship of that fee-farm, socage, or burgage,
unless such fee-farm owes knight’s service. We will not by reason of any small serjeancy
which anyone may hold of us by the service of rendering to us knives,
arrows, or the like, have wardship of his heir or of the land which he
holds of another lord by knight’s service. 38. No bailiff for the future shall, upon his
own unsupported complaint, put anyone to his “law”, without
credible witnesses brought for this purposes. 39. No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or
disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon
him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers
or by the law of the land. 40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we
refuse or delay, right or justice. 41. All merchants shall have safe and secure exit
from England, and entry to England, with the right to tarry
there and to move about as well by land as by water, for buying and selling
by the ancient and right customs, quit from all evil tolls, except
(in time of war) such merchants as are of the land at war with us. And if such are found in
our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be detained, without
injury to their bodies or goods, until information be received by us,
or by our chief justiciar, how the merchants of our land found in the
land at war with us are treated; and if our men are safe there, the
others shall be safe in our land. 42. It shall be lawful in future for anyone (excepting
always those imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with
the law of the kingdom, and natives of any country at war with us, and
merchants, who shall be treated as if above provided) to leave our
kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water, except for a
short period in time of war, on grounds of public policy- reserving
always the allegiance due to us. 43. If anyone holding of some escheat (such as
the honor of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster,
or of other escheats which are in our hands and are baronies) shall
die, his heir shall give no other relief, and perform no other
service to us than he would have done to the baron if that barony had
been in the baron’s hand; and we shall hold it in the same manner in
which the baron held it. 44. Men who dwell without the forest need not
henceforth come before our justiciaries of the forest upon a general
summons, unless they are in plea, or sureties of one or more, who are
attached for the forest. 45. We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs,
or bailiffs only such as know the law of the realm and
mean to observe it well. 46. All barons who have founded abbeys, concerning
which they hold charters from the kings of England, or of
which they have long continued possession, shall have the wardship
of them, when vacant, as they ought to have. 47. All forests that have been made such in our
time shall forthwith be disafforsted; and a similar course shall
be followed with regard to river banks that have been placed “in defense”
by us in our time. 48. All evil customs connected with forests and
warrens, foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their officers,
river banks and their wardens, shall immediately by inquired into
in each county by twelve sworn knights of the same county chosen by
the honest men of the same county, and shall, within forty days of the
said inquest, be utterly abolished, so as never to be restored, provided
always that we previously have intimation thereof, or our
justiciar, if we should not be in England. 49. We will immediately restore all hostages and
charters delivered to us by Englishmen, as sureties of the peace
of faithful service. 50. We will entirely remove from their bailiwicks,
the relations of Gerard of Athee (so that in future they shall
have no bailiwick in England); namely, Engelard of Cigogne, Peter,
Guy, and Andrew of Chanceaux, Guy of Cigogne, Geoffrey of Martigny
with his brothers, Philip Mark with his brothers and his nephew
Geoffrey, and the whole brood of the same. 51. As soon as peace is restored, we will banish
from the kingdom all foreign born knights, crossbowmen, serjeants,
and mercenary soldiers who have come with horses and arms to the
kingdom’s hurt. 52. If anyone has been dispossessed or removed
by us, without the legal judgment of his peers, from his lands,
castles, franchises, or from his right, we will immediately restore
them to him; and if a dispute arise over this, then let it be decided
by the five and twenty barons of whom mention is made below in the
clause for securing the peace. Moreover, for all those possessions, from
which anyone has, without the lawful judgment of his peers,
been disseised or removed, by our father, King Henry, or by our brother,
King Richard, and which we retain in our hand (or which as possessed
by others, to whom we are bound to warrant them) we shall have respite
until the usual term of crusaders; excepting those things about which
a plea has been raised, or an inquest made by our order, before our
taking of the cross; but as soon as we return from the expedition,
we will immediately grant full justice therein. 53. We shall have, moreover, the same respite
and in the same manner in rendering justice concerning the disafforestation
or retention of those forests which Henry our father and Richard
our brother afforested, and concerning the wardship of
lands which are of the fief of another (namely, such wardships as we have
hitherto had by reason of a fief which anyone held of us by knight’s
service), and concerning abbeys founded on other fiefs than our own,
in which the lord of the fee claims to have right; and when we have
returned, or if we desist from our expedition, we will immediately grant
full justice to all who complain of such things. 54. No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon
the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other than her husband. 55. All fines made with us unjustly and against
the law of the land, and all amercements, imposed unjustly and
against the law of the land, shall be entirely remitted, or else it shall
be done concerning them according to the decision of the five and
twenty barons whom mention is made below in the clause for securing the
pease, or according to the judgment of the majority of the same,
along with the aforesaid Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can
be present, and such others as he may wish to bring with him for
this purpose, and if he cannot be present the business shall nevertheless
proceed without him, provided always that if any one or more of
the aforesaid five and twenty barons are in a similar suit, they
shall be removed as far as concerns this particular judgment, others
being substituted in their places after having been selected by the rest
of the same five and twenty for this purpose only, and after having
been sworn. 56. If we have disseised or removed Welshmen from
lands or liberties, or other things, without the legal judgment
of their peers in England or in Wales, they shall be immediately restored
to them; and if a dispute arise over this, then let it be decided
in the marches by the judgment of their peers; for the tenements
in England according to the law of England, for tenements in Wales according
to the law of Wales, and for tenements in the marches according
to the law of the marches. Welshmen shall do the same to us and ours. 57. Further, for all those possessions from which
any Welshman has, without the lawful judgment of his peers,
been disseised or removed by King Henry our father, or King Richard our
brother, and which we retain in our hand (or which are possessed
by others, and which we ought to warrant), we will have respite until
the usual term of crusaders; excepting those things about which
a plea has been raised or an inquest made by our order before we
took the cross; but as soon as we return (or if perchance we desist from
our expedition), we will immediately grant full justice in accordance
with the laws of the Welsh and in relation to the foresaid regions. 58. We will immediately give up the son of Llywelyn
and all the hostages of Wales, and the charters delivered
to us as security for the peace. 59. We will do towards Alexander, king of Scots,
concerning the return of his sisters and his hostages, and concerning
his franchises, and his right, in the same manner as we shall
do towards our other barons of England, unless it ought to be otherwise
according to the charters which we hold from William his father, formerly
king of Scots; and this shall be according to the judgment of
his peers in our court. 60. Moreover, all these aforesaid customs and
liberties, the observances of which we have granted in our
kingdom as far as pertains to us towards our men, shall be observed b
all of our kingdom, as well clergy as laymen, as far as pertains to them
towards their men. 61. Since, moveover, for God and the amendment
of our kingdom and for the better allaying of the quarrel that has
arisen between us and our barons, we have granted all these concessions,
desirous that they should enjoy them in complete and firm endurance
forever, we give and grant to them the underwritten security, namely,
that the barons choose five and twenty barons of the kingdom,
whomsoever they will, who shall be bound with all their might, to
observe and hold, and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties
we have granted and confirmed to them by this our present Charter,
so that if we, or our justiciar, or our bailiffs or any one of our
officers, shall in anything be at fault towards anyone, or shall
have broken any one of the articles of this peace or of this security,
and the offense be notified to four barons of the foresaid five
and twenty, the said four barons shall repair to us (or our justiciar,
if we are out of the realm) and, laying the transgression before
us, petition to have that transgression redressed without delay. And if we shall not have
corrected the transgression (or, in the event of our being out of the
realm, if our justiciar shall not have corrected it) within forty
days, reckoning from the time it has been intimated to us (or to our
justiciar, if we should be out of the realm), the four barons
aforesaid shall refer that matter to the rest of the five and twenty
barons, and those five and twenty barons shall, together with the
community of the whole realm, distrain and distress us in all possible
ways, namely, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, and in any
other way they can, until redress has been obtained as they deem fit,
saving harmless our own person, and the persons of our queen and
children; and when redress has been obtained, they shall resume their
old relations towards us. And let whoever in the country desires it,
swear to obey the orders of the said five and twenty barons for the
execution of all the aforesaid matters, and along with them, to molest
us to the utmost of his power; and we publicly and freely grant leave
to everyone who wishes to swear, and we shall never forbid anyone to
swear. All those, moveover, in the land who of themselves
and of their own accord are unwilling to swear to the twenty
five to help them in constraining and molesting us, we shall by
our command compel the same to swear to the effect foresaid. And if any one of the five and
twenty barons shall have died or departed from the land, or be
incapacitated in any other manner which would prevent the foresaid
provisions being carried out, those of the said twenty five barons who
are left shall choose another in his place according to their own
judgment, and he shall be sworn in the same way as the others. Further, in all matters, the execution of
which is entrusted,to these twenty five barons, if perchance these twenty
five are present and disagree about anything, or if some of them,
after being summoned, are unwilling or unable to be present, that which
the majority of those present ordain or command shall be held as
fixed and established, exactly as if the whole twenty five had concurred
in this; and the said twenty five shall swear that they will
faithfully observe all that is aforesaid, and cause it to be observed
with all their might. And we shall procure nothing from anyone,
directly or indirectly, whereby any part of these concessions and
liberties might be revoked or diminished; and if any such things has
been procured, let it be void and null, and we shall never use it personally
or by another. 62. And all the will, hatreds, and bitterness
that have arisen between us and our men, clergy and lay, from the date
of the quarrel, we have completely remitted and pardoned to everyone. Moreover, all
trespasses occasioned by the said quarrel, from Easter in the
sixteenth year of our reign till the restoration of peace, we have
fully remitted to all, both clergy and laymen, and completely
forgiven, as far as pertains to us. And on this head, we have caused
to be made for them letters testimonial patent of the lord Stephen,
archbishop of Canterbury, of the lord Henry, archbishop of Dublin, of
the bishops aforesaid, and of Master Pandulf as touching this security
and the concessions aforesaid. 63. Wherefore we will and firmly order that the
English Church be free, and that the men in our kingdom have
and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions, well and
peaceably, freely and quietly, fully and wholly, for themselves
and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all respects and in all places
forever, as is aforesaid. An oath, moreover, has been taken, as well
on our part as on the part of the barons, that all these
conditions aforesaid shall be kept in good faith and without evil intent. Given under our hand –
the above named and many others being witnesses – in the meadow which
is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day
of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.

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  1. Thanks GreatestAudioBooks for posting I found it very interesting .I'm not well read on English History so I'm a little confused why Jews were singled out as a race in the Magna Carta?

  2. cristians werent allowed to lend money with interest so only jews were money lenders that and they wernt liked much lol x

  3. or yer most things were writtin in latin or french then as english was seen as a peasents language not fit for lords and ladys to use magna carta is actualy latin for grand chart

  4. I heard that we only have to pay for tax if there is a war to fund. Is this true and is this the reason why we keep recieving terror attacks to justify war so we have to keep paying? I thought the reason why we keep attacking counties like Syria etc is because the elite dont own the oil from these counties?

  5. 808-850 year's ago This Law "MAGNA CARTA" was instituted by British Council. Our U.S.of.B.A. United States of British America is out Dated and Constitutes Rights Only for particular so called class of Persons.
    1776 The Constitution provisional degree's are arbitrary and segregating. Only Imposed by and for European Invaders.

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